Council of Ten
   The most notorious of the group of councils that governed the republic of Venice. Founded in 1310 as a reaction to an unsuccessful uprising against the power of the city's noble families and the exclusion of non-noble citizens from any voice in government, the Council was a guarantor of political stability, always on the lookout for conspiracies aimed against the domination of the political system by the nobility. It was notorious for its use of spies, secret diplomacy, and the assassination of those who endangered the interests of Venice. For most of its existence, members were selected by the Great Council for one-year terms and were not allowed to serve consecutive terms. Napoleon Bonaparte abolished the council in 1797 after his army gained control of Venice.

Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. . 2004.

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